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Young champ kicks up a level

Saturday, 8th October, 2011

SA STAR: Former South junior Tom Derham will line up for Port Adelaide in the SANFL Under 18 grand  final tomorrow. SA STAR: Former South junior Tom Derham will line up for Port Adelaide in the SANFL Under 18 grand final tomorrow.

By Darrin Manuel 

The football season may be over for another year in Broken Hill, but former local Tom Derham still has his eye on the game’s ultimate prize.

Derham will line up for Port Adelaide in the SANFL Under 18 Grand Final this weekend after enjoying a stellar season of football in South Australia.

The 17-year-old began the year playing with Pooraka in the SA amateur league after finding work in Adelaide as a carpenter.

He said he was content to be playing at an amateur level with Pooraka, which was also the club where his father Paul played his junior football.

“I actually had no intention of making it any further than the ammos (amateur league). I’d have been happy to play the whole season at Pooraka,” said Derham.

However he quickly shot to the top of the club’s A-grade goal kicking leaderboard, and it wasn’t long before Port Adelaide took notice and asked him to step up to SANFL level.

He responded brilliantly, playing the last nine games of the regular season gathering 164 disposals, 66 marks (19 contested) and booting 26 goals from full forward and the centre.

“It’s been really good, I’ve sort of slotted into the team, they use me well up forward and I get great supply - great ball use - from the guys up the field.

“I came out to Port around half way through the season so it was a bit awkward at first, but I sort of showed them who I am and had a bit of a joke and we’re all pretty good mates.”

The versatile forward continued his good form into the finals series with five-goal hauls in both of the Magpies’ finals appearances.

With the season finale looming, Derham said he was trying to relax before running onto AAMI Stadium tomorrow.

“I’ve been trying to keep it fairly low key and not think about it too much,” he said.

“I’ve made the mistake before where you play the game over and over in your own mind, then you get out there and you’re mentally done before the ball is even bounced.

“So I’ve just been keeping my mind busy with work and my social life and making sure I go out and do a few things.”

In other football news, South’s Heath Caldwell and former Central on-baller Ben Camilleri have signed on with the Albury Tigers in the powerful Ovens and Murray League.

They will be looking to break into Albury’s dominant line-up, which will be chasing its fourth straight flag next year.

Caldwell, 18, and Camilleri, 19, were recruited to the Tigers by coach Danny Stevens who had close involvement with them during their years spent playing representative junior football.

Local GWS Academy Coach Dale TOnkin also spent time with the duo as they progressed through their junior career, and he predicted they would flourish on and off the ground in their new home.

“I’m looking at it as more than just a footy thing, it’s also the next step in their life,” he said.

“It’s a big chance for them to develop their football, but it also opens up a lot of new career and life opportunities.”

“Both of the boys will find a way to adapt to a new league, they can manufacture a way to succeed in all different levels of football.”

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